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Executive Profile: Alan Soderblom

Alan Soderblom brings a Seventh-day Adventist Church heritage and financial discipline to his new job as the president and chief executive officer at Paradise Valley Hospital in National City.

A religious man, Soderblom says all hospital employees, regardless of their own religious beliefs, are part of the large Adventist Health family, and serving all patients, regardless of their personal circumstance, equally.

“All men are created equal under God,” Soderblom said.

That’s the religious family man at work.

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But there’s also a “darker” side to Soderblom.

He said he’s always been intrigued by espionage and the secret world of the CIA.

He equally magnified television’s “most merciless boss,” Donald Trump, and his reality TV hit, “The Apprentice,” which offers interesting lessons about business successes.

But he doesn’t want to draw any comparisons to Trump’s management style. Contrary to Trump, who seems to enjoy firing people, Soderblom struggles with it.

He says adventure, action and reality TV are strictly for personal enjoyment.


RESUME

Name: Alan B. Soderblom.

Title: President and CEO.

Company name: Paradise Valley Hospital, a 301-bed acute care hospital in National City, part of the faith-based nonprofit group Adventist Health.

Education: Master of business administration from the University of Redlands in 1996; bachelor of science in accounting and business administration from Loma Linda University, La Sierra campus, in 1986.

Residence: Chula Vista.

Age: 40.

Family: Wife, Karen; daughter, Sissel, 5; son, Stieg, 3.


BUSINESS PHILOSOPHY

Essential business philosophy: Excellence , excellence in bedside nursing keeps patients satisfied and coming back to the hospital. Excellence means physicians will be happier and provide more business (patient referrals) toward you. Both drive success.

Best way to keep a competitive edge: Move out of your comfort zone.

Guiding principles: Good morals, trust in God.

Yardstick of success: Happy clients, employees, corporate.

Goals yet to be achieved: Campus master plan , developing a senior living village, affordable housing for employees and a medical office building on 54 acres of land near the hospital owned by Adventist Health, the faith-based nonprofit group that operates the 301-bed acute care Paradise Valley Hospital, among 19 other hospitals.

Achieving a 5 percent operating margin.


JUDGMENT CALLS

Best business decision: Hiring the right people. Attitude is (often) more important than good training or education. I want to know what people are like. I like people who want to learn, do a good job and believe that every human is important.

Worst business decision: I love e-mail, but it’s impersonal. Messages can come across as cold when you don’t mean to be insensitive.

Toughest business decision: Firing people.

Mentors: Gary Williams, director of finance, Loma Linda Community Hospital; Terri Day, regional chief financial officer, Adventist Health; Terry Hansen, past CEO and president, Paradise Valley Hospital.

Word that describes you: Thorough.


TRUE CONFESSIONS

What you like best about your job: People.

What you like least about your job: Voice mail. I turned it off. I am an e-mail guy.

Pet peeve: Paper clips with ridges.

Most important lesson learned: Learn from others.

Person most interested in meeting: Donald Trump.

Most-respected competitors: Scripps Health, UC San Diego, Sharp Health Care.

Two greatest passions: Family, traveling.

First choice for a new career: CIA , I’ve always been intrigued by the secret world of the CIA. More likely new career choice , teaching.


PREDILECTIONS

Favorite quote: My staff says that my favorite quote to them is “Something is wrong” (typically relating to financials).

Most influential book: The Bible.

Favorite movie: “No Way Out” , a Cold War thriller.

Favorite restaurant: Sheerwater, Hotel del Coronado , a great place to have a Sunday brunch while the kids play on the beach.

Favorite place for business meetings: Place with a view.

Favorite vacation spot: Norway.

Favorite way to spend time: Family.

Favorite automobile: German imports, but I drive an Acura MDX.

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